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posted Oct 6, 2013, 5:16 PM by Christine Merrill
After years of begging, Lige was finally granted his greatest wish to become a soccer player!  We found a league that wasn't too competitive or expensive and that didn't require travel all over the entire state.  I didn't think that was too much to ask for, but it turned out to be trickier than I thought!

So Lige is in 3rd grade, and at his age, most of the people on his team have played before.  In fact, some of them are really good.  Lige is very talented at clearing the ball, and he's a very cautious person.  Put all this together, and we pretty much expected him to be playing defender.  We were surprised to see him starting at left forward at his first game this week!

His team was clearly better than the other team, in spite of Lige.  I mean, it was his first soccer game ever.  Things like staying on your side of the field, dribbling, and getting in front of the ball were very novel to him.  He had half the clears for the defense, despite his position.  And he was never on the right (or, left, as it were) side of the field.  He spent most of the game looking like a deer in the headlights - I guess it was a lot to take in all at once.  But he was cute.

After the first quarter, I sorta expected Lige to be moved back to his natural habitat (defense) and someone with more experience put at forward.  Shockingly, he played left forward the entire game.  But the cool part was when I noticed, after about 10 minutes of Lige running around somewhat randomly, that the assistant coach had pretty much glued himself to Lige, really mentoring him in how to play forward.  He stayed with him the entire game.  Lige never got in the habit of staying on his side of the field, but by the end of the game, he had two runs at the goal, and had made some plays to be really proud of!

This was a really great example to me.  I think that when someone's not doing a really great job at something, it's natural to say, "Ok, that's not their strength" and move them to some other job.  We do this at church, in school, in job selection, in community organizations, all over.  If someone's struggling, take away the problem.  Coach Wynn's approach was to help the person overcome and learn from the problem - to give him the ability to succeed.  It took a lot of one-on-one work.  But what a difference it made for Lige's confidence.  And here's the secret I didn't realize until after the game was over:  Lige is left-footed.  He could be an awesome left forward.

I can't think of any instance of God saying, "I don't think you're quite cut out for heaven, why don't you shoot for being a pretty good person, and that's good enough."  He knows we all have potential, and he's willing to put in the time to help us realize it, if we'll take it.  One-on-one, just like Lige's coach.

So, when someone in my family struggles with temper or work ethic or grades or whatever, I'm not going to say, "Eh, try something else".  Instead, I'm going to pray to see the potential they have, and then coach them until they reach it.